Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
When I started my job writing at a startup media company, I was a recent grad with a BA and a starter salary.
A year later, my salary wasn't meeting my needs and I decided to ask for a raise. I'd never asked for a raise before, so it was a nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding experience.
I set up a meeting with my boss and let him know that I wanted to talk about my compensation. I came prepared with why I thought it was time to increase my salary and made sure I was straight to the point.
There are four big things I learned from asking for a raise for the first time:
I work for a startup, and I'm still a recent grad, so I took that into account. I started bargaining on the higher end, with a limit on how little I was willing to accept. Chances are your boss will have a number in mind, too.
I did some research before I asked for a raise and found the North American website PayScale, which has all sorts of information on salaries, benefits and compensation.
According to a PayScale survey, 75 per cent of people who ask for a raise get one. There are other factors to bear in mind: if your company is under a wage freeze, for example, you might want to hold off on asking for a raise. And if you're really dissatisfied, maybe it's time to look for new work.
Here was my situation: it had been a year, and I really liked my job, but there was no mention of a raise, and I was struggling to support myself. I calculated how much more money I would need monthly to cover my bills and expenses, which made it easy to determine how much of a raise I needed to stay at the job and keep my financial situation from becoming hopeless.
I then bumped up my ask a little bit, just so I'd have wiggle room to negotiate.
I chose a few performance indicators that showed I was a benefit to the company and I was putting in the work to deserve higher wages. Having been there a year, the points in my favour were ones I could prove, and since my boss liked my work, he also knew what I was bringing to the table.
I felt I had a specialized, in-demand skill, which made me someone they'd want to keep.
One of my childhood friends has been working at a small accounting firm for two years, and last year, she asked for a raise.
Her biggest piece of advice? Get everything in writing.
This advice came in handy when, at the end of my meeting with my boss, I was told I got my raise. I was emailed a new contract in writing and knew when my new salary would take effect. I had record of my conversation and knew I'd been successful - it was all wrapped up neatly.
In our conversation, my boss told me that he needed me on his team, and he was willing to meet my expectations to ensure I was happy.
I was apprehensive about asking for a raise, but I came out the other side with a higher salary, and I'm much more satisfied with my job now. I've learned how to be more open with my boss, how to ask for what I want, and I've gained a new life skill.